New England Patriots: Looking back at the 2021 draft class after 7 games

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

With seven games in the books, let’s take a look back at the New England Patriots 2021 draft class and see how the team’s picks have fared so far.

Back in April, this space graded the draft a B+ with the possibility that it could turn out to be a great draft. Has it?

The 2021 New England Patriots draft class through seven games

The major beef this space had with the Patriots draft back in April was not with the players selected, but with one position they didn’t. That would be an offensive tackle.

Hate to be on target when the team suffers because of a perceived error, but they have to some extent.

That topic has been covered in-depth. They got the message. Michael Onwenu was moved back to right tackle in Week 7’s thrashing of the New York Jets.

The New England Patriots’ missed picks in the draft

Before the great stuff, let’s first touch upon those that haven’t made much of an impact yet. The most glaring to date was a third-round pick, Ronnie Perkins from Oklahoma State.

Perkins was pretty highly touted as a pass rusher, yet, he hasn’t played a snap all season for the Patriots. While there is still a lot of time for things to change, Perkins has been a flop up to this point.

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The fourth-round pick was a favorite, running back Rhamondre Stevenson. A big fumble early has helped keep Stevenson inactive for four games so far.

He’s played in the other three and has shown flashes. It still says here he’ll make good but to this point, it’s an incomplete pass.

Their last four picks were basically a washout. None of the players made the roaster. Two remain on the practice squad, William Sherman a guard/tackle, and Tre Nixon, a receiver. Basically, the bottom four are incomplete fail grades to date.

New England Patriots’ hit a home run in the second round

The New England Patriots’ 2021 draft class has been top-heavy, indeed. Two players have stood out so far, and they were the top two picks.

The second-rounder was Christian Barmore, a defensive tackle from Alabama. The team traded up for Barmore. It was a very astute move, indeed.

The position (not the player) was panned here as explained because of the team’s need for a good young offensive tackle.

After spending heavily in free agency at the position, the pick seemed to make little sense at the time. That observation flopped.

Barmore has been terrific. He’s already thought here to be the Patriots’ best defensive lineman. He looks that good. Barmore looks dominant. He’s the best seen in these parts since the top two in the championship era.

They are the guy who just received his Patriots Hall of Fame red jacket, Richard Seymour, and another future Patriots Hall of Fame guy, Vince Wilfork.

Is Barmore that good? Who knows? But he certainly looks like he could be in the first seven games of his career. He’s just beginning to hit his stride and he’s already a handful for opposing offensive lines. He’s a force.

The more he plays the better he will get. Barmore has to be on the field early and often. This pick is a three-run home run at least and maybe even a grand slam.

New England Patriots Mac Jones, the best of the best

Their first draft pick is their best. That would be Mac Jones, the quarterback. This space has been on the former Alabama ace’s bandwagon since after the draft. He’s not disappointed at all.

Mac Jones is an intuitive passer and a leader. He’s tremendously accurate having completed an otherworldly 70.4 percent of his passes through seven games.

His completion percentage through the first six games of the season was the best for a rookie in NFL history according to CBS.

Jones is the best of a great class of rookie quarterbacks and he’s only going to get better and better as each week unfolds.

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Suffice it to say, surround Mac Jones with a top line and skill players and there are Super Bowl aspirations there.

Mac Jones is that good, already. Jones and Barmore alone made the draft. And if some of the other picks emerge as they may, even better. Grade: A+++. A great job, indeed.